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Philips Streamium MCi500H - Philips Streamium MCi500H

By Edward Chester

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The MCi500H really comes into its own when you take advantage of its network connections. There's an Ethernet port round the back and built-in wireless, the aerial for which also pokes out of the back. The wireless supports all the common encryption types so you shouldn't have too much trouble connecting to your home network, especially as the numeric keypad on the remote makes entering passwords as quick as typing a text on a mobile phone.

Once connected you can use the MCi500H as a music server for other products in the Streamium line, the theory being you have this larger system in your living room, and have one of the smaller all-in-one units in your bedroom. The setup of this is also incredibly easy and there are neat features like the 'Music Follows Me' function that lets you pause the music you were listening to in one room and continue it in another, just by touching one button.

As well as this, you can tune into Internet radio, and connect to UPnP network servers - i.e. music shared from your laptop or PC via Windows Media Player. Moreover, by installing a small bundled application on your PC you can copy your music collection across to the MCi500H, cutting out the need to rip all your music again. Unfortunately, file format support is limited to just mp3, WMA, and AAC, with no DRM support - the obvious omission here being any kind of lossless format. At least album artwork is supported.

It's this latter feature that is probably the only reason we can see for Philips choosing a full colour 3in LCD screen as opposed to a simpler, classier, and non-viewing angle affected display technology like OLED or VFD. Not that the screen is bad, indeed it's rather good with text being sharp, colours vivid, and viewing angles being respectable . There's just something about all but the best LCD displays (possibly the way they're so obviously inset and the slight backlight bleed) that rather spoils the sleek look of AV equipment.

Hamish Campbell

February 27, 2009, 1:47 pm

OK people help me out...


There is a laptop with lots of music. There is a stereo with good amp and good speakers.


I want to play the music on the stereo. I don't want to plug the computer in.


Where is the simple, music over wifi to auxilery input device?


I've found apple express that can do it with itunes, though this is not really that cheap (i.e. more expensive than a decent more fully featured router...to be precise 700DKK which is something like 70 quid), and a lynksys product that isn't sold in europe.


Any suggestions?

Ed

February 27, 2009, 2:21 pm

Well the quick answer is there isn't anything. If the 𧶀 odd that the entry level squeezebox costs is too much then I don't know of anything else that would do the job. There are a few desktop radios that have the functionality built in but having one of these - http://www.trustedreviews.com/... - permanently plugged into your radio would hardly be a neat solution.

Crazyhorse

February 27, 2009, 6:01 pm

Hi Guys,





Keeping things Streamium, would this help Haim out?





http://www.trustedreviews.com/...



Ed

February 27, 2009, 6:26 pm

Of course, I completely forgot about that. It's still over 𧴜 but it fits the bill perfectly.

Epic

February 27, 2009, 8:26 pm

Internet Radios used to be a cheap way to stream music from computers to wherever you want as many come with a upnp client/media player built-in in addition to the Internet Radio functionality. If you get one with some form of audio out you can pipe it through a hifi.





Unfortunately the days of these going for 50 quid in Dixons appear to be long gone. You can also do it with plugplayer on an iPhone but that's also not a cheap option.

Hamish Campbell

February 28, 2009, 12:17 pm

Cheers.


The friend i'm setting it up for doesn't have a wireless router yet so I think I'll kill two birds with one apple airport express, she uses itunes anyway.


The stremium could be an option for me though, i like the digital out and that one can select from the unit what to play, would be perfect for my kitchen...although I'd have to be convinced that it was easy enough to find the tracks to play and select them. Will do a little google on it to see how it goes with itunes stored music as I saw the review pointed out it was easy with windows media player. But could be real cool if/when I move to network stored music.

nickwilcock

March 19, 2009, 1:13 pm

I bought a Philips MCi500H a couple of days ago. Setting it up was pretty simple, although the instructions don't remind you to switch off MAC filtering on your router to allow an IP to be assigned and the MAC to be displayed on the router's control panel! Fortunately I remembered this from a previous WLAN device set-up and now have the MCi500H also added as an approved wireless client.





I use the 'aux in' to improve my TV sound; the speakers were too big to fit where I wanted them, so a pair of Wharfedales were pressed back into service.





Yesterday I had no problems with Internet radio and saved a few 'Favourites'. But today most won't play and display 'Radio station cannot be reached. Please try again later'... This is very disappointing; I can listen to the stations using Windows Media Player 11 on my PC, but some don't seem to be available on the Philips MCi500H.





Why this should be, I do not know. But I cannot recommend this system if Internet radio connectivity is as flaky as this!

nickwilcock

March 19, 2009, 7:43 pm

On the 'StreamiumCafe' web forum, another owner suggested that I shut the unit completely down using the 'Eco' button, then re-boot it.





Success!





It seems to be fine now, but I will be keeping a close eye on it.......

nickwilcock

April 22, 2009, 3:10 am

A month later and I'm still getting to grips with the MCi500H. My only real gripes are that the User Manual is abysmally inadequate and that Internet radio streams are less reliable than through www.reciva.com, it seems.





And the unit, though quite pretty, is a real dust magnet!

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